Top 10 Things to See in Catania
On the eastern Sicilian coast, you can find a beautiful city… of course, we are talking about Catania. Our beloved city is very peculiar: surrounded by nature, it faces the see and is shadowed by Mount Etna; thus, Catania is appreciated by people who wants to mix a cultural experience with sun and sea as well as who loves trekking.
Visiting Catania means discover a many-faced town city: there is a special mix of history and modernity, where you can easily visit a baroque church built with lava stone, turn the corner and do shopping.
What you must see in Catania
- Piazza del Duomo
It’s the main grandiose square in Catania: it’s surrounded by Sant’Agata Dome – the city cathedral – on the east, the Elephant Palace – the city hall – on the northern side, the Palazzo dei Chierici and the Porta Uzeda on the southern side. In the square centre you can see the peculiar Elephant Fountain, considered the city symbol. Connecting the square with the fish market road, there is the Fontana dell’Amenano, named by the underground river that surface only here, creating a spectacular cascade where l’acqua scende a linzolu – the water falls down like a sheet.
- Fish market in via Pardo
La pescheria is one of the ancient fish market in Italy and it’s a must in the city tour: you can’t say you have been in Catania if you didn’t walk around the fish market. It’s full of colours, very crowded, chaotic and picturesque: here you can hear the vuciate, the marketers shouting to gather people attention, and taste fresh fish in one of the many restaurants facing the street.
- Festa di Sant’Agata
Maybe you’ve already heard about Catania main festivity, the Festa di Sant’Agata, the city’s patron Saint: celebrated every year on February the 5th, it’s really important for catanian people. On that day, the relics of the saint are paraded around town by teams of white-shirted devotees while thousands of catanesi flood in the streets to celebrate.
- via Etnea
It’s the city’s main shopping strip. A traffic-free boulevard where you can find lots of bars, trattorias and restaurants and us: Dimora di Sicilia is placed right above via Etnea and has a terrace where you can enjoy a beautiful view.
- Monastero dei Benedettini
This beautiful building, a UNESCO site, is now siege of the Literature and philosophy Faculty of the Catanian University, but originally was a monastery built starting in the 16th century. Since the construction never really stopped, we can admire different spaces with different styles mixing together harmoniously: a roman house, the beautiful cloisters and a roof garden.
- Baroque district
In the 18th century, Catania was almost entirely rebuilt after a volcanic eruption and earthquake devastated the city in the late 1600s. Despite the tragedy, is thanks to that event that we now can admire some beautiful baroque buildings in via dei Croficeri, another UNESCO site, where four baroque churches are condensed in only 200mt.
- Palazzo Biscari
Palazzo Biscari is the palace of the Paternò Castello family – the princes of Biscari. Built in the 17th century, destroyed by the earthquake, the new palace – the one we see now – was built directly against the city walls, to resist a potential earthquake. This amazing building has more than 700 rooms decorated in rococo style: among them, shine the Salone delle Feste, painted by Sebastiano Lo Monaco and chosen by Coldplay to be the set for Violet Hill video.
- Bellini Garden
The Bellini Garden, known as Villa Bellini in italian, is the oldest urban park of Catania, bought from the Prince of Biscari by the municipality of Catania in 1854.
- Street Art Silos
Catania is not just full of ancient monuments, here we have a taste for contemporary art and every year the city is hosting the I-Art Festival, meant to enhance the quality of artistic production. In 2015 eight international artists have transformed the landmark city silos to give the city a spectacular 21st century monument: they stayed in Dimora di Sicilia, spending the evening with Daria, the owner, and her friends talking about art in general and their work in Catania, tasting our typical sicilian food.
- Mount Etna
Etna is the highest active volcano in Europe: it’s continually effusing lava, a magnificent sight that you can’t miss. If you want to visit Mount Etna – and you should! – we can organise a tour just for you, with a personal and expert guide and make you live a fantastic experience.
Have you ever been in Catania? Of course, we didn’t mention everything you can do in Catania, these were the must in our opinion: write in a comment if we forgot about something that should be on that list and keep reading our blog, we will give you some local advices!